'Beast' on the boards

With 15 rebounds Thursday night, "The Beast" accomplished a thing of beauty at Thompson-Boling Arena.

In his first career start for Tennessee junior power forward Jeronne Maymon grabbed the most rebounds by a Vol since Wayne Chism speared 15 versus Ole Miss on March 12, 2010. That's a notable achievement, even in an exhibition game against a Div. II foe such as Carson-Newman.

"I always like going in the trenches with the big guys," Maymon said, "banging and boxing out to try and get the board."

After watching the 6-7, 255-pounder's backboard work in practice, none of his Vol teammates were surprised by Thursday's performance.

"Jeronne is a beast, toughest guy on our team," sophomore point guard Trae Golden said. "Fifteen rebounds and 10 points is a great game. He played on my Rocky Top (summer league) team. I know people don't put a lot of stock in Rocky Top but he's a great player, and I think everybody on our team knows that."

Whether Maymon is capable of double-digit rebound totals on a regular basis remains to be seen. Golden is optimistic.

"Oh, definitely," he said. "I think that's definitely something that can happen and something we look for from him. He's a beast, and I'm glad to have him on my team."

Maymon, who transferred in from Marquette in January of 2010, is glad to be on Golden's team.

"I felt really good," he said following the exhibition opener. "I know the plays, know where I'm supposed to be. I think we meshed pretty well. We had a lot of offensive breakdowns, though. A lot of people weren't in the spots where they needed to be."

The Vols had some defensive breakdowns, too. Head coach Cuonzo Martin gave the team a C-plus grade in that category.

"I'd say about the same, if not a C-minus," Maymon said. "We had a lot of defensive breakdowns, and they hit a lot of open 3s, a lot of uncontested shots that they shouldn't have gotten. That's where most of their points came — from us breaking down defensively."

Tennessee played an awful first 16 minutes against Carson-Newman, trailing 28-30 before finally finding a rhythm.

"We were real jittery," Maymon said. "And I think a lot of it was being the first time in front of a crowd and the first time suited up."

Tennessee shot just 36.2 percent from the field but won the backboards 51-32. Maymon's game-high 15 rebounds included seven off the offensive glass.

"I thought I had less," he said. "When I was sitting on the bench I thought I had about nine. I didn't think it was 15."

Fellow junior Kenny Hall was second with 6 rebounds in 15 foul-plagued minutes. Tennessee also got some quality backboard work from a couple of newcomers. Freshman Yemi Makanjuola grabbed 6 rebounds and junior college transfer Dwight Miller added 5 rebounds — each playing eight minutes.

Head coach Cuonzo Martin, who preaches toughness and physicality, was understandably pleased with Tennessee's rebounding. He was especially happy with Maymon.

"Jeronne's just a tough basketball player," the coach said. "He's a physical presence.... I would imagine he's one of the toughest guys in this league. I haven't seen everybody in this league but I'd be hard-pressed to find a lot of guys that are tougher."

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